The ongoing phone-hacking trial in London heard new evidence today demonstrating that Princess Diana was a master of media manipulation to fight her battles with the royal family.
One of the journalists on trial for illegally tapping the phones of British celebs and royals testified that the late Princess of Wales leaked information to him on the royals, including a phone directory, as part of her struggle with her estranged husband, Prince Charles.
Former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman said Diana handed over the data after her separation from Charles, when she was going through a "very, very difficult time" and was looking for media support.
Diana and Charles separated in 1992 and divorced four years later. She died in aParis car crash in 1997. Before that, she had been the world's most famous media target. Nearly undone by the spotlight as a young princess, she soon learned to manipulate the media for her own ends, whether for her charities or her feuds.
Goodman testified that she sent the 1992 phone directory of Buckingham Palace to his newspaper office, and that she called him later to make sure he received it. The directory gave him numerous staff contacts and telephone numbers that later proved helpful in his reporting on the royal family.
"She told me she wanted me to see the scale of her husband's staff and household, compared with others," Goodman said. "She felt she was being swamped by people close to his household. She was looking for an ally to take him on — to show there were forces that would rage against him."
As an example of how the directory helped him, according to the Daily Mail, he described calling a palace official at home at 1 a.m. the night Diana died, which spurred the royal press operation into action and produced a story about what was happening in the chaotic aftermath of the crash in the Paris traffic tunnel.
Goodman, 56, has been linked to the long-running phone-hacking scandal since his first arrest in 2006 for suspected hacking into the voicemails of royal aides to Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. He was briefly jailed in 2007 and is on trial now for two counts of alleged conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, which he denies.
He is one of six former editors, reporters and executives of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. empire who have been charged with phone-hacking and other wrongdoing at the now-defunct NOTW.
Murdoch shut down the tabloid, then Britain's largest circulation Sunday paper, in 2011 after the scope of the illicit tapping into voicemails by journalists became known. Dozens of people have been arrested in the scandal, including former top Murdoch executives, and his company has paid out millions in compensation to victims.
Contributing: The Associated Press